Journaling Exercise: Your Future Self

by Bobby Rock

Here’s a cool contemplation exercise to try. I’ve done variations of this through the years and was reminded of it recently when mentioned on a Tim Ferris podcast episode. Here’s my twist:

  • Grab a notebook, journal, or any device you like to take notes on.
  • Sit quietly for a moment and take a few deep breaths to clear your mind.
  • Close your eyes, then imagine that your future self—that is, YOU, 20 years into the future—has time-traveled back to the present moment to spend three minutes with you.
  • You take a second to notice the physical changes in this older and wiser version of yourself, and then you ask one question: “Given all you know about these next 20 years, what message of guidance can you offer me today?"
  • Then, just start writing down whatever comes to you. Don’t question it, don’t edit it... just write. Could be one sentence or less; could be a paragraph. But just go with whatever pops up.

The idea here is that we are often the most qualified to advise ourselves… IF we can gain enough objectivity about our circumstances. This is a big "if," of course. So by accessing our inherent wisdom through the psychological filter of an objective ally—our future, presumably wiser, self—we can either gain some new insight or reinforce something we've already been contemplating. Scope it out!

PS. For those curious, the leathery-faced, grey pony-tailed motherfucker I encountered had only two words for me: “Don’t wait."

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